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'We fulfilled COVID-19 Related Responsibility but Could Not Give Time to Our Beneficiaries'

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Q. Have regular activities started inside the Anganwadi Centre (AWC) since it reopened? What instructions have been given regarding maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour?

Anganwadi Worker (AWW): Yes, the centres have reopened and we are working towards all types of service delivery. We are also conducting all kinds of events including community-based events.

Concerning COVID-19, before the centre was started, the Panchayat - on behalf of the Women and Child Development department - got the centre cleaned for us. Initially, there were very strict rules regarding COVID-19, but there aren’t many rules now.

Q. What is the malnutrition status in your locality? Is hot cooked food being served to children?

AWW: Even though the centre is operational, we are not serving hot cooked food to the children. We are still receiving Take Home Rations (THR) from the department, which we distribute to all the beneficiaries.

It is difficult for me to comment about the malnutrition status of my Block and district. In my centre, only one child is malnourished here, who was malnourished from before. There has not been any increase in this regard.

Q. Looking back at the past two years, what do you think you could have done better if you didn’t have additional COVID-19 related responsibilities?

AWW: The last two years have been difficult for everyone and a lot of people were afflicted including a lot of our staff. Still, we fulfilled the responsibility which was handed to us, but due to this, we could not give adequate time to our beneficiaries. Children have faced education loss because we were not able to devote our time to this. Similarly, our inability to provide hot cooked food and organise large scale community-based events has also had adverse effects.

Q. Are there any challenges in your work that you are currently facing? According to you, what is the solution for them?

AWW: There aren’t big challenges, but we still have to face some small challenges. Like now, we have been informing parents that they should send their child to the centre as per a schedule through which we have assigned different days for children of different ages. But parents do not pay regard to this and send their children to the centre as per their convenience, due to which it becomes difficult to ensure that rules are being followed properly. Parents should send their child according to the information relayed by us.

Q. According to you, during the COVID-19 pandemic, were there things which the government should have provided but did not? On the other hand, what necessary things were provided?

AWW: I would say that we did not receive enough masks and sanitisers, especially when you consider the extent of field work which we undertook during the pandemic.

We regularly received information on our mobile phones. Also, adequate THR and medicines for beneficiaries were provided.

Q. Have you received any financial incentives in the past two years?

AWW: Yes, we have been given ₹1,000, apart from our honorarium, for the work we did during the beginning of the pandemic.

This interview was conducted with an Anganwadi Worker in Maharashtra in Hindi on 22 April 2022, and has been translated.

Credits: EPS/Pushkar V

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